Europa (1991) - Lars Von Trier
Lars Von Trier's examination of post-war Europe is a visual extravaganza of lighting, composition, and mood. The film centers around a young American of German descent, who thanks to his uncle, begins a job on the Zentropa train line as a car conductor. Torn between conflicting interests in the Post-War landscape, the man soon is forced to make difficult choices, unable to remain neutral in the conflict centered around German's direction post-WWII. The film is very creative visually, using a layered effect to elicit mood and highlight certain things in the frame. Though Europa is a visceral experience that works more so than not, Von Trier does go a tad overboard at times, using the effect with sequences that didn't seem very motivated. It's a very cold and distant film, but that is not a bad thing, as it fits this post-war landscape of uncertainty. That being said, I still was hoping for a little more of an emotional connection. The Max Von Sydow voice-over is indeed hypnotic, giving the film a nice dream-like ambiance but at times I found it to be cheap and unnecessary. While I completely appreciate and respect this film from both a technical standpoint and a commentary, I was hoping for a little more resonance when it comes to capturing the post-war landscape.
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